Sleepless In Space

Imagine being completely healthy, yet having to lie in bed for 90 days. That's what some volunteers are doing in order to help NASA researchers better understand the effects of zero-gravity on the human body. Bill Stamps has more.
If you stop by the NASA Research Center in Galveston and see people lying around in bed, they're not being lazy. They're doing research. NASA researcher Don Powell says the problem is that each time astronauts come back from space weird things happen to their bodies when they come back.

"The astronauts get dizzy and actually faint. And that's because their cardiovascular system while they're in space has gotten used to the fact that there's no gravity."

After doing some studies they found that lying in bed at a certain angle has the same effect on the body as zero gravity. So now they're doing even more studies. Placing paid volunteers in bed for 90 days, giving them things to do and medicine's to take, to see what works and doesn't work. This is important research, especially for the space station and any future trip to Mars.

"If they go to mars they're going to be there for 18 months. because once you get up there you have to wait till the planets realign in order to come back."

Powell says it'll be a couple years before they have some answers, which means more people lying around the research center.

Bill Stamps, KUHF, Houston Public Radio News.